Nature of Scotland Award winners announced

Nature of Scotland Award winners, courtesy Simon Williamson
Norette Ferns

Winners of the 2017 Nature of Scotland Awards include Scotland's first-ever snorkel trail, a community garden and a project tackling plastic pollution.

The awards are organised by RSPB Scotland and celebrate the most dedicated and passionate people and projects working to protect Scotland's internationally renowned wildlife and habitats.

Mike Dilger, ecologist and natural history presenter, hosted the awards ceremony at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh, where nine projects across the same number of categories took home top prizes.

The winners are:

  • Food & Farming Award (sponsored by The James Hutton Institute):Ruthven Farm, Tomintoul
  • Marine Conservation (sponsored by Vattenfall): The Great Nurdle Hunt
  • Corporate Award:Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project (DEEP)
  • Innovation Award (sponsored by ScottishPower):DON'T STEP THERE, YOU'LL SINK! Jump on, we'll ride (John Mackay Ltd)
  • Youth and Education Award: Cumbernauld Living Landscape - Engaging Communities to Enhance Urban Greenspace
  • Community Initiative Award (sponsored by GreenPower):Tayport Community Garden
  • RSPB Species Champion Award (sponsored by The Ardmore):Brian Etheridge's pioneering fieldwork has massively benefitted birds of prey
  • Nature Tourism Award (sponsored by Sustrans):North West Highlands Snorkel Trail
  • Political Advocate of the Year:Logan Steele and Andrea Hudspeth

Anne Youngman, from the Bat Conservation Trust, was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her tireless efforts over more than 14 years to champion bats in Scotland.

Mike Dilger said:

"I was delighted to host the RSPB Scotland Nature of Scotland Awards for the first time this year, and really enjoyed hearing about the country’s best conservation projects. In challenging times it was exciting to have the opportunity to shine a light on these inspiring success stories and to meet all of the dedicated people working so hard to protect and enhance our natural world."

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said:

"I was delighted to be at the sixth year of the Nature of Scotland Awards. My portfolio includes tourism and I was pleased to see that the important role that nature plays in underpinning our tourism industry was recognised in the Nature Tourism Award category. The energy and enthusiasm of the nominees in all the categories really shone through. I would like to congratulate the winners of this year’s Nature of Scotland’s Awards and thank everyone who is giving their time to the conservation of Scotland’s natural environment."

Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland, said:

"Congratulations to all of this year’s winners, you should be extremely proud of the work you’re doing for nature conservation in Scotland. It’s inspiring to see so many people dedicating their time to protecting our country’s precious natural heritage, especially the number of young people who are making a real difference by engaging in conservation. Hopefully by continuing to talk about and celebrate these fantastic achievements, we can encourage even more people and organisations to get involved and help give nature a home in Scotland."

The 2017 Nature of Scotland Awards are sponsored by GreenPower, The James Hutton Institute, ScottishPower, Vattenfall, Sustrans, The Ardmore, and Turcan Connell.

For more information about all of the winning and highly commended projects visit the RSPB Scotland website.

Photo courtesy Simon Williamson.